The North Face has updated the Montana Mitt, now using Gore-Tex as the waterproof material instead of the Hyvent membrane on the previous mitten. We found the Hyvent to be incredibly waterproof, and can't speak to the effectiveness of the new Gore-Tex glove, but our experience with Gore-Tex leads us to believe that this glove will still remain warm and waterproof. The updates haven't jacked the price up at all; you can still grab these mittens for $70. See the new Gore-Tex version on the left, below, followed by the version we originally tested on the right.
Since we haven't slid our paws into the new version yet, the following review refers to the old Hyvent version of the Montana Mitt.
Hands-On Review of the Montana Mitt
One of the only categories that the Montana Mitt didn't particularly excel in was warmth. While they are nearly as warm as all of the contenders in our review, they weren't quite as warm as other top scorers, like the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt With that said, the Montana Mitt still offers an incredible level of warmth, at an unbeatable price. While warmth might be the only factor that kept the Montana from scoring higher, they did have other advantages, such as excellent water resistance and dexterity.
The Montana Mitt was the top scoring mitten during our side-by-side bucket of water comparisons (to test water resistance). Even after half a season in real world testing, these mitts shed water wonderfully, making them an excellent choice in wet snow climates like the Cascades and Sierra.
During our side-by-side testing, the Montana Mitt performed fantastically and offered better dexterity than many of the mittens available in our review; this is due to the Montana's solid design, with the well-articulated thumb and four-finger section. While we could easily buckle our boots and zip our jackets, these mitts weren't quite as dexterous as some of the warmest gloves that we tested, such as the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex.
The Montana was noticeably more dexterous than the Hestra Army Leather Heli and the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, both award-winning mitts, and is surprisingly dexterous for a mitten. The Montana Mitt is an excellent choice for those that need something warmer than a glove, but don't want to feel like they have two clubs for hands.
The Montana Mitt particularly stood out in this category; during our side-by-side bucket of water test, they kept our hands dry for longer than any mitt we tested, making them a great option for wet climates, like the Cascades. The Montana Mitt was the only model we tested that had a waterproof membrane fabric inside the shell of the mitt; this shell covered the entire mitten, including the palm. The water resistance of the shell significantly outlasted both Hestra models, and while the Black Diamond Mercury's shell material performed similarly, the water resistance quality was far higher (and often lasted much longer) on the Montana's palms when compared to the Mercury.
While the Montana Mitts were only tested for one season, they held up wonderfully. The outer fabric offers high-quality water resistance, and these mitts are beefy enough for most resort skiers and snowboarders. The synthetic palm is not quite as tough as the other models that feature leather palms and may not be ideal for applications that require more toughness.
This pair of ski gloves had loads of usable features that help set it apart when compared to the other gloves and mittens we reviewed. One of our favorite features is the inner elastic seal that came down over our wrist; this not only helped to keep snow out and heat in, but it also added to the fantastic fit of this mitten. We also loved the keeper leashes, as they were among the lowest profile and most comfortable to wear in our review.
The gauntlet cinch did a great job of keeping snow out, and the slightly softer fabric on the back of the thumb was nice for wiping goggles and runny noses. The Montana was the only model we tested that didn't feature a removable liner; this allowed for better dexterity, though they did take a little longer to thoroughly dry out. The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt was the only pair of ski gloves that scored higher in the features metric, earning a 10 out of 10. The Montana earned a 9 out of 10.
The Montana Mitts had a number of extra features, including our favorite keeper leashes. We found these leashes were comfortable and low profile; they were a perfect length, which meant the cords weren't hanging all over the place, yet they allowed us to remove them to accomplish certain tasks.
The Montana Mitt is best used by people who tend to do most of their skiing and snowboarding in temps above 0F and ideally, for many, above 10F. The awesome water resistance that these gloves offer make them a great option for folks in warmer (and wet) areas; those that are looking for a warm option that won't wet out will be pleasantly surprised. The Montana may not be the best choice for more extreme cold in areas like upper New England, where you would be better suited to choose something that's just plain warmer, like the Black Diamond Mercury MItt.
Here we are testing the different models during our two minute "bucket of water" test.
At $70, The North Face Montana Mitt is one of our favorite models overall and come at a fantastic value. We like them for all but the coldest of resort riding and find that they're a perfect choice for warm and wet areas.
The high-quality, water-resistant fabric allows the rider to maintain dry hands for a longer period and keeps the mitts from wetting out as quickly as nearly all of the other models. The Montana is an excellent option for someone who wants to wear something warmer than gloves, yet wants to maintain a higher level of dexterity than what is usually found in some mittens.